North Saanich residents say enough is enough when it comes to illegal dumping.
The picturesque district is blessed with abundant natural beauty, which some say is being spoiled by the selfish actions of a few dumpers.
Wain and Tatlow roads are a case in point, with locals saying the quiet road has been targeted by dumpers for around 10 years. The entrance to Brackenhurst Farm seems to especially be cursed by regular instances of discarded trash.
“There’s garbage, there’s furniture, we’ve had mattresses, dressers, washers and driers, a toilet once, bags of drywall,” says Marla Parsons, who knows the area well. “This has been going on for years.”
The last time it happened, the District of North Saanich stepped in and removed all the garbage – a move Parsons describes as “awesome” but she, and others, are upset it keeps continuing.
“If I walk down to the end of the driveway and look on both sides, in the ditches, there is tons of garbage in there – shoes, clothing. It’s like at the end of the month when people have to move and they have all this junk, and they say, ‘It’s OK, it’s the weekend, let’s go down to the end of that road and dump it in that bush.’ And that’s what they do.”
In the past, Parsons says the owner of a nearby property rooted through the dumped garbage, found the suspected dumper’s address and deposited it back onto their driveway. She says usually the offences are reported to the police and she thinks setting up cameras might be the next step residents will have to take.
The dangers of illegal dumping include pollutants leaching into ground and surface water, and freon being released into the atmosphere. Animals are in danger while foraging for food, and dried-out organic litter can act as tinder for wildfires.
Parsons concedes that poverty might be a factor in the dumping but says there are resources and alternatives to illegal dumping that people could make use of.
“It’s reached a boiling point,” says Parsons. “We just want them to stop doing it.”
Littering is an offence in North Saanich and can result in a fine or prosecution. If anyone sees illegal dumping they are asked to call the police immediately.